Recruiting Roundup (7.16.13)

Slow but steady movement being made in more than one place.

Unfortunately for us, there were no new commits this week. However, there was some movement, so there's still things to discuss! Before we get into all that though, I'm going to give a quick plug to one of my best friends from home, Keith Hurtt. He just came out with a CD the other day, and while it's not available on iTunes yet, I wanted to give ya'll a quick preview of it (FYI though, the lyrics are NSFW). For anyone reading this who currently attends Penn State, or lives around there, if you like this preview and want a CD (Only 5 Bucks!), let me know, and I can bring some back to school in early August.

Okay, shameless plug for Keith and Chuck (his producer), over. Now here's your Office clip, and let's talk some crootin'!

Zayd Issah

If you haven't heard by now, Zayd Issah was charged with aggravated assault over Arts Fest weekend. O'Brien was quoted at the time as saying, "If that is true, he certainly won't be part of the team," in speaking with ESPN. Zayd recently participated in the Big 33 game this year, and had a great game. It is disappointing that Penn State fans will most likely never get a chance to see his talent put to the test at Beaver Stadium. Zayd has all the talent in the world, he just needs some help in other aspects of his life right now. This is a very sad development for Issah, and while it would seem that his chance to be a part of Penn State history has passed, we all hope that he eventually can earn his way into getting a chance with another school. Good luck, Zayd.

Wangler Earns All-America Game Invite

Jared Wangler earned an invitation to the prestigious Under Armour All-America Game for 2014, during this past week. He will be joining Penn State commits, De'Andre Thompkins and Chris Godwin at the game. When I asked Jared if he was excited to play with them, he told me that he couldn't wait, and it was going to be awesome. Being the curious soul that I am, I also asked him if the selection committee gave any reasoning behind his selection, and he told me that after going over a lot of his film, they just felt like they couldn't exclude him. Wangler's reputation is continuing to grow across the country with coaches and scouting departments alike. While he continues to garner interest from big schools such as LSU, he remains a very firm Penn State commit. Can't wait to have you here, Jared.

New ESPN 300 Ratings for 2015

Many of Penn State's main targets for the 2015 class made the cut in the ESPN Junior 300. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Sterling Jenkins, Ricky DeBerry, Jerome Baker Jr., Tristen Hoge, Ryan Bates, T.J. Wheatley Jr., Darius Fullwood, Matt Burell Jr., and Jordan Whitehead all find themselves firmly inside the top 300. O'Brien and the staff are not messing around with their recruiting efforts as well, going after some true, hard to match talent. Of the above listed, Fitzpatrick, Jenkins, DeBerry, Bates, and Fullwood all speak about Penn State as one of their top (if not, the top) schools. Hoge, Baker, and Whitehead also have strong interest, but I expect will end up elsewhere. Jerome Baker, however, is going to be one of the more interesting recruiting battles to watch. It is expected to come down to OSU and PSU. He hails from Cleveland, so he has been considered a near-lock to join Urban's squad. However, through an interview on ESPN ($), despite growing up in Ohio, Baker has always been more of a Penn State fan. We're getting a little taste of an O'Brien v. Meyer recruiting battle right now with Gesicki, but I think the #BattleForBaker will be even more entertaining. As always, I will keep you updated on all of these future prospects.

This week for the big board, instead of Dodgeball quotes for finished positions, I'm going to use Talladega Nights quotes! Get pumped.


Penn State Recruiting Class of 2014 Big Board

Estimated Class Size: 15

Current Commitments: 13

Quarterback
1. Michael O'Connor (IMG Academy (FL)) (Committed 6/8/13, Recruited by Charlie Fisher)

Notes: "Here's the deal, I'm the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence."


Running Back
1. Nick Scott (Fairfax (VA)) (Committed 2/23/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
2. Mark Allen (DeMatha Catholic (MD)) (Committed 10/16/12, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Qadree Ollison (Canisius (NY)) (Lead Recruiter: Stan Hixon)

Notes: Ollison remains in a holding pattern for the time being, still with the same top 5 of PSU, Pitt, Rutgers, 'Cuse, and Wisky. He surely understands that Penn State has veryyyy limited sports available at this point (As does everyone else they're persuing), so if he truly wants to be in the Blue and White, he will need to make a move soon.


Wide Receiver
1. De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro (NC)) (Committed 4/20/13, Recruited by Stan Hixon)
2. Chris Godwin (Middletown (DE)) (Committed 4/23/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
3. Troy Apke (Mt. Lebanon (PA)) (Committed 4/13/13, Recruited by Charles London)

Notes: "If you ain't first, you're last."


Tight End
1. Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin (NJ)) (Lead Recruiter: Ron Vanderlinden)

Notes: The situation with Gesicki also remains as it has been. He stills holds Penn State in his top group, but it seems that Ohio State is the team to beat at this point. Gesicki jumped an absurd 758 spots in the 247Sports ratings, becoming the 4th ranked tight end in the country. Hopefully there will be some movement with Gesicki in the next few weeks. I'm also trying to get in contact with him to see how he's feeling about each school, so hopefully I can throw some quotes around for you soon.


Offensive Line
1. Noah Beh (Scranton Prep (PA)) (Committed 6/1/13, Recruited by Mac McWhorter)
2. Alex Bookser (Mt. Lebanon (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)

Notes: Bookser's kept his recruiting very private to this point, and that hasn't changed recently. Aside from the reports a few weeks ago that showed his growing interest in PSU, he's kept things quiet as ever. I, for one, still remain skeptical that he will become a Lion, but it sure wouldn't be the first time the staff surprised me.


Defensive Tackle
1. Antoine White (Millville Senior (NJ)) (Committed 7/1/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Ricky Walker (Bethel (VA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)
3. Thomas Holley (Abraham Lincoln (NY)) (Lead Recruiter: John Strollo? Not sure if this one is right)
4. Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach (VA)) (Lead Recruiter: Larry Johnson)

Notes: Finally, a position with some new things to talk about! Ricky Walker has named Penn State and Virginia Tech ($) as his top two schools right now. He still doesn't have any sort of time table, and is just letting the flow of recruiting take him wherever it will, but my prediction for him to end up a Nittany Lion isn't looking half bad right now. Thomas Holley is planning on naming his top 5 at the end of the summer ($), and deciding on a school before his high school season starts. While he still may or may not have some other visits to take, it appears that Penn State is going to make that cut for the top 5. Derrick Nnadi has't spoken much about PSU since he cancelled his trip up here, and I still firmly believe that he is going to end up at Virginia Tech. The staff has one spot left to pick up a DT (I don't think they'll take more than one), so at this point, it becomes a race, so to speak. Whoever decides to pull the trigger first between Walker and Holley, it would seem will be one of the final additions to the 2014 class, while the other will be left to look elsewhere. Oh, sanctions. Thou art so cold and unforgiving.


Linebacker
1. Troy Reeder (OLB) (Salesianum (DE)) (Committed 2/26/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Jared Wangler (OLB) (De La Salle Collegiate (MI)) (Committed 5/10/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)

Notes: "I like to think of Jesus as an Ice Dancer, dressed in an all-white jumpsuit and doing an interpretive dance of my life"


Defensive Backs
1. Daquan Worley (CB) (Coatesville Area Shs (PA)) (Committed 5/3/13, Recruited by Ron Vanderlinden)
2. Marcus Allen (S) (Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. (MD)) (Committed 5/10/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
3. Troy Vincent Jr. (CB) (Gilman (MD)) (Committed 6/26/13, Recruited by Larry Johnson)
4. Dravon Henry (CB/S) (Alquippa (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charlie Fisher)
5. Montae Nicholson (CB) (Gateway (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charles London)
6. Malik Hooker (CB) (New Castle (PA)) (Lead Recruiter: Charlie Fisher)


Notes: Nicholson has narrowed his field of over 40 offers to a top 12 ($). Breathe easy PSU fans, the Lions made the cut. He claims to not have a leader out of that top 12 at this point, however. He's looking to make a decision by the end of his senior season though, and I believe O'Brien will have that spot filled by that point. Henry has been quiet recently, seemingly taking his time to think about this very important decision. Penn State, West Virginia, and Pitt still appear to be the leaders for his services, with UCLA dropping out of the race (Thanks in no small part to the decision of Henry's good friend, Rushel Shell, to stay in Pittsburgh). It would take something drastic to change that at this point. Hooker named Penn State in his top 5 a few weeks ago. While I don't think he will end up here, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, it truly is amazing how incredible of a job the staff has done recruiting under O'Brien. I hope he sticks around for an unsanctioned year of recruiting, if only because I want to watch Penn State bring in a top 5 recruiting class, which he surely could do.



Overall Big Board of 2014 Recruits

This board will be a ranking of the remaining recruits based on my opinion of who the staff desires most. It will not take into account the likelihood of their commitment.

1. Dravon Henry

2. Thomas Holley

3. Montae Nicholson

4. Alex Bookser

5. Ricky Walker

6. Mike Gesicki

7. Derrick Nnadi

8. Malik Hooker

9. Qadree Ollison


Only change this week is the swapping of Walker, Nnadi, and Gesicki. Since Penn State's interest in Nnadi seems to be slowly deteriorating, it would seem that his spot on their wish list is dropping as well.

Class of 2015 (And Beyond) Updates

Names will be followed by Year, Position, High School, and Star Rating According to 247Sports.

Tristen Hoge (2015) (OL) (Highland (ID)) (4*)- Hoge picked up an offer from LSU since we last spoke- Has a basic top 3 of PSU, ND, and LSU, but ND looks to be the leader

Ryan Bates (2015) (OL) (Archbishop Wood (PA)) (4*)- Planning on visiting PSU for a 3rd time soon- Holds the Lions in very high regards- Also has visited schools down south recently ($)

Andre Robinson (2015) (RB) (Bishop McDevitt (PA)) (4*)- Says PSU and Pitt are recruiting him the hardest- Has 7 offers already, planning on taking lots of visits in the fall- PSU in his top group right now ($)

Matt Burrell, Jr. (2015) (OL) (Chancellor (VA)) (4*)- Recently named a top group that didn't include PSU- Still waiting for offers from others down South- Seems Penn State has a lot of work to do if they desire Burrell's services

Richie Petitbon (2015) (OL) (Gonzaga (DC)) (UR on 247)- Richie picked up a huge offer from Alabama a few days ago- Haven't been able to contact him to talk about it yet, but when I do, you'll know

Final Notes

Since no one had any questions for the Recruiting Mailbag in the comments last time, we'll take a week off from that section here. For those wondering where the scholarship matrix is, I'm working on it. I've been insanely busy since the last Roundup, but I should hopefully have it done by the end of this week. Also, for those waiting for the Run-On rundown I promised, I also hope to have that done soon, so keep your eyes open.

Finally, we all wonder what our recruiting classes would be looking like nowadays without sanctions. Well David Williams (2013, 4* RB out of Imhotep (PA)) helps shed some light on his personal situation (He was once considered a heavy Penn State lean).

So there's that. Getting Williams would have been a great pick up, but it just wasn't meant to be. We wish him the best of luck as he gets set to begin his first year down at South Carolina. Sorry that this Roundup didn't have quite the same beef as the last, it's a combination of the last one coming on the heels of a few major events, and this one being just a slow week for all the targets. Hopefully we'll see some movement in the next 2 weeks! This week, I send you off with this tweet. Praise Yeezus.

Happy Wednesday!


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